When you are an Emerald Member with National, it’s really nice–you can just go to the lot and pick your car on a standard rental.
But this isn’t true when you rent through a third-party discount site like Hotwire or Priceline. You can’t just walk out on the lot and get your car.
But I learned this really confuses the heck out of the kiosk.
I booked a National rental on Hotwire and when I got there, I headed inside.
I pulled up my reservation on the kiosk and when I scanned my license, it said that I was an Emerald Member and needed to head outside. It printed out a voucher with what type of car I had and everything.
So I followed directions and headed outside. The problem was, that wasn’t the right thing in this situation.
When I went outside, the employee helped me find the section where I could grab a car from. I went to the gate, handed over my paperwork, credit card and license, and the gentleman at the gate was totally stumped. My reservation was completely wiped out.
It wasn’t missing. There was just nothing in it. He said he could see fragments of information but nothing that was complete.
It took about 20 minutes and me handing over my iPad with my original Hotwire reservation to reconstruct my reservation. Apparently, once I scanned my license, the kiosk switched over to the rules that apply to Emerald members. But I didn’t have that type of reservation.
So it decided my Hotwire reservation was wrong without creating a new type of reservation. When you have a 3rd-party reservation and are a member of the loyalty program, I recommend talking to a person instead of leaving it up to the kiosk’s algorithm.